After Grades - What did we learn?

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apper123
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby apper123 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:10 pm

samiseaborn wrote:Can any of you amazing A/A+ achievers speak to preparing for classes without any practice exams or newbie profs? Last semester we had a database of exams and no answers, this semester none of my profs even have exams to practice with/have never taught these course before. I've decided exam writing is where I must have gone wrong on finals (prof listed all the issues he graded on for one class, so I know I didn't miss issues), but without sample exams, I'm not sure how to practice doing it the way they're looking for to get over the B+/A- hump. Any advice is appreciated.


I got an A in a course with no practice exams, and it really concerned me (before the exam) to not have practice questions. What I did was just ask the professor every question I could imagine about the structure of her exam. What type of questions? How many multiple choice? What type of issues will you test on MC? Will there be a policy question?

Will there be a policy question is probably the best question I asked. She said "it's quite possible" (professor speak for yes), and I followed up with: "what type of strategy would you suggest for attacking a policy question like that?" And she gave me a pretty detailed and helpful answer, and I rocked the policy question on the exam.

Just ask tons of questions. Profs without practice exams are usually more open to answering these questions.

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sayan
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby sayan » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:14 pm

apper123 wrote:
samiseaborn wrote:Can any of you amazing A/A+ achievers speak to preparing for classes without any practice exams or newbie profs? Last semester we had a database of exams and no answers, this semester none of my profs even have exams to practice with/have never taught these course before. I've decided exam writing is where I must have gone wrong on finals (prof listed all the issues he graded on for one class, so I know I didn't miss issues), but without sample exams, I'm not sure how to practice doing it the way they're looking for to get over the B+/A- hump. Any advice is appreciated.


I got an A in a course with no practice exams, and it really concerned me (before the exam) to not have practice questions. What I did was just ask the professor every question I could imagine about the structure of her exam. What type of questions? How many multiple choice? What type of issues will you test on MC? Will there be a policy question?

Will there be a policy question is probably the best question I asked. She said "it's quite possible" (professor speak for yes), and I followed up with: "what type of strategy would you suggest for attacking a policy question like that?" And she gave me a pretty detailed and helpful answer, and I rocked the policy question on the exam.

Just ask tons of questions. Profs without practice exams are usually more open to answering these questions.


Good tips!

VincentChase
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby VincentChase » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:33 pm

At the risk of continuing the "circle jerk," I just got my final grade, in property and wanted to talk a little bit about it to close my portion of what I learned.

Property: This was an extremely, extremely tough class for me. The professors gave it a strong law and economics bent, something I was not particularly familiar or comfortable with. On the second day of class, he completely lost me talking about the Coase Theorem, sending me scurrying to the supplements. The professor's class was almost like a weird performance art stand-in for law school - if people didn't answer his questions within two second, he was apt to launch a lecture about what a bunch of slackers we were. This happened usually several times a day.

Because the material was so difficult for me, preparation was difficult. I had to study in between classes, usually reading the day of class, which is a lot of pressure with dense material. I began hard-core finals study during Thanksgiving weekend, going back and re-reading the casebook. Not just outlining, not just going over my notes, but re-reading (or, to be truthful, reading for the first time) cases, notes, and thinking through the problems in the book. I leaned heavily on the Gilbert's guide, which was written by my professor, as well as some future interests supplements, particularly the one by Evans. I tried to understand the Rule Against Perpetuities, but saved it for the last night before the exam, because otherwise I knew I'd lose it. I suspect I still missed questions on it. The exam was mostly multiple choice, with more than one possible answer per question. We had a five-day break between the end of classes and this exam, six if you count the evening of the last day of classes. I studied every last second of it except when I was sleeping. No comparable practice exams from the professor, so I had to use the Gilbert's guide questions along with the Kaplan's book that's available with lots of multiple choice.

My outline was probably about 15-20 pages. Can't recall if I referred to it during the exam. Probably not. I never seem to.

Grade: A-
Overall GPA after two semesters: 3.818

I can't agree with the people who say that hard work doesn't correlate with performance. I suspect I'm in the bottom 10 percent of intelligence among my classmates, but probably the top 10 percent (maybe not - I honestly have no idea how Michigan's curve sets up) in grades so far. The biggest key has been my work, not just the time put in, but the use of time, especially close to finals. I don't waste much motion. I don't outline just to feel like I'm doing something. I force myself to think through hypotheticals and so forth, even though it's draining. One more word - I don't use any artificial means. I've never taken an Adderral or Ritalin or anything else like that. Wouldn't know where to find it if I wanted to.

This has honestly been the most humbling seven months of my life. My classmates are, quite simply, amazing. The work and mental endurance required to even have a chance at above the median in each class staggers me.

I'm sorry if this seems like circle jerking or showing off to post this stuff, but this site, along with older law students who I knew, was so helpful for me in preparing for both the LSAT and, particularly, law school, that I almost feel a moral obligation to help others find their way based on my experiences to this point. I know the Internet breeds cynicism, but I'm sincere in this.

sophie316
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby sophie316 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:06 pm

Now that I have all my grades I can safely say that what I have learned is that success is inversely proportional to effort.

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prezidentv8
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:07 pm

sophie316 wrote:Now that I have all my grades I can safely say that what I have learned is that success is inversely proportional to effort.


I guess that means you had either an ultimate win or ultimate fail?

LessonsLearned
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby LessonsLearned » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:46 pm

T10 1L, using alt w/mod permission. I did very well while doing some things that go against certain conventions and I just want to put my approach and results out there.

Class #1: Book Award. Straight issue-spotters.
Class #2: A. Mostly issue-spotters, some policy questions.
Class #3: A. Odd exam, heavy on policy.

1. Did no writing or highlighting in books. Took reading and class notes.

2. No hornbooks or supplements, except: 1) a commercial outline used mainly for the practice short answers and full-length exam questions in the back, and 2) an E & E used only for the practice exams in the back. I did look at a couple hornbooks in the first week or two of class and another E & E later in the semester, but I felt that their take on the subject was not like my professors' in terms of what they thought were important and difficult issues. Also I found extraneous information confusing and annoying.

3. I began taking practice exams for classes #1 and #2 in late October. I only took practice exams that belonged to my professors, or that had answers. I didn't study for these classes almost at all during study week except for taking 2 practice exams each. Class #3 I barely touched during the semester, but gave my all during the 3-4 day study period and Thanksgiving break.

4. I did not complete outlines for classes #1 and #2, but I had a 1-pg cover sheet for each that had every possible issue listed on it in an arrangement that made it easy to follow and apply. Both tests were open-note and open-book so it didn't really matter that I hadn't "outlined".

5. Did not memorize anything, although I found that I absorbed a lot of the BLL just from reading, class, and practice. I did lots of flipping back and forth through my notes during all 3 exams. I even went into the casebook on 2 exams.

6. Wrote a decent amount, but not a ton. I think I averaged something like 1300-1500 words per hour. I "finished" all the exams early and then went back to add and correct things. I felt very nervous about this later on, thinking that perhaps I didn't write enough or that there was something wrong with my finishing early.

7. Rather than doing IRAC, I mostly did IA. Then I would just continue with "if [option 1] then [....]" and "if [option 2] then [...]" and go into the next issues. I sometimes stated a rule separately before launching into analysis, but usually I didn't. I used headings to try to make my train of thought clear to the professor.

8. I didn't insert any policy into any issue-spotter analysis, even though one of my professors said that policy could be relevant in the issue-spotting portion. I found plenty of legal issues to talk about to fill the entire time of the exam. I know some professors give points for using policy to "break the tie" in favor of a conclusion to an issue, but I feel that even those professors would probably give more points for legal analysis of a new issue. Unless told specifically otherwise by a professor, I will never bother with policy in an issue spotter unless I have completely run out of straight legal issues and analysis.

9. Felt nervous about my exams after finishing, and felt absolutely awful about them after mulling them over for a few weeks while waiting for grades. I missed issues, made blatant BLL mistakes, and totally misapplied an easy rule to easy facts at one point. Had no idea what to expect for grades.

chitown825
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby chitown825 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:50 pm

Everybody will know the material almost equally well (except for the students who have already decided to be in the bottom quartile) so it comes down to how well you can take an exam. You need to be studying exam taking as seriously as you study the BLL.

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vanwinkle
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:58 pm

I reviewed one of my exams today. The professor hadn't made that many notes on my answer, but he did write up a rather detailed guide to what a right answer was for this test. It's amazing how many issues I missed or got wrong, and this was one of my better grades. :shock:

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RVP11
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby RVP11 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:12 pm

chitown825 wrote:Everybody will know the material almost equally well (except for the students who have already decided to be in the bottom quartile) so it comes down to how well you can take an exam. You need to be studying exam taking as seriously as you study the BLL.


Strongly disagree on "everybody will know the material almost equally well." The range of levels of knowledge is vast, even at a top school like UVA.

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rbgrocio
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby rbgrocio » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:42 pm

I also learned the true definition of a law school gunner. AGHHHH I hate it sooo much how the fricking gunner dpes not have anything to say and makes the professors waste time and the fricking guy is at the bottom of the class!!! Didn't you learn already that you DO NOT have anything important to say!!!!!!!!

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rbgrocio
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby rbgrocio » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:43 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
chitown825 wrote:Everybody will know the material almost equally well (except for the students who have already decided to be in the bottom quartile) so it comes down to how well you can take an exam. You need to be studying exam taking as seriously as you study the BLL.


Strongly disagree on "everybody will know the material almost equally well." The range of levels of knowledge is vast, even at a top school like UVA.



I agree. Not that I go to a top school, but you can clearly spot those who missed the point of the entire class.

sperry
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby sperry » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:44 pm

JSUVA2012 wrote:
chitown825 wrote:Everybody will know the material almost equally well (except for the students who have already decided to be in the bottom quartile) so it comes down to how well you can take an exam. You need to be studying exam taking as seriously as you study the BLL.


Strongly disagree on "everybody will know the material almost equally well." The range of levels of knowledge is vast, even at a top school like UVA.



I found that there was about a 10% clump at the bottom, and a 10% clump at the top, and the middle 80% was really close in terms of knowledge/ preparedness.

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vanwinkle
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:46 pm

rbgrocio wrote:I also learned the true definition of a law school gunner. AGHHHH I hate it sooo much how the fricking gunner dpes not have anything to say and makes the professors waste time and the fricking guy is at the bottom of the class!!! Didn't you learn already that you DO NOT have anything important to say!!!!!!!!

You have to know enough to know that you don't know. He doesn't.

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rbgrocio
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby rbgrocio » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:48 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
rbgrocio wrote:I also learned the true definition of a law school gunner. AGHHHH I hate it sooo much how the fricking gunner dpes not have anything to say and makes the professors waste time and the fricking guy is at the bottom of the class!!! Didn't you learn already that you DO NOT have anything important to say!!!!!!!!

You have to know enough to know that you don't know. He doesn't.



Jesus Christ!!! It is soooo annoying you have no idea.. I mean, if the gunner were someone who had something insightful to say I would love to listen to them, but I just can't help rolling my eyes every time he opens his mouth

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apper123
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby apper123 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:09 pm

rbgrocio wrote:
JSUVA2012 wrote:
chitown825 wrote:Everybody will know the material almost equally well (except for the students who have already decided to be in the bottom quartile) so it comes down to how well you can take an exam. You need to be studying exam taking as seriously as you study the BLL.


Strongly disagree on "everybody will know the material almost equally well." The range of levels of knowledge is vast, even at a top school like UVA.



I agree. Not that I go to a top school, but you can clearly spot those who missed the point of the entire class.


Yeah I agree too. I reviewed an exam with a professor today, and he told me that 2/3 of the class missed the entire major issue of one of the questions. Just completely whiffed it. It was so obvious too and was something he hammered over and over in several class periods. I dunno how that happens. Test anxiety/rush/time limits I guess?

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mallard
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby mallard » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:11 am

Congrats guys. Not sure what I learned. One of the detriments of the H/P system!

IowaGirl
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby IowaGirl » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:27 am

mallard wrote:Congrats guys. Not sure what I learned. One of the detriments of the H/P system!


+1

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rayiner
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby rayiner » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:29 am

mallard wrote:Congrats guys. Not sure what I learned. One of the points of the H/P system!

sophie316
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby sophie316 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:42 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
sophie316 wrote:Now that I have all my grades I can safely say that what I have learned is that success is inversely proportional to effort.


I guess that means you had either an ultimate win or ultimate fail?


Combo thereof. I do find it amusing that I got the worst grade in the only exam I felt I actually knew the material in/studied for for 10 days, and did better in the two classes that I did absolutely nothing beyond reading/attending class for until like 5 days before the exam.

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prezidentv8
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby prezidentv8 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:51 pm

sophie316 wrote:
prezidentv8 wrote:
sophie316 wrote:Now that I have all my grades I can safely say that what I have learned is that success is inversely proportional to effort.


I guess that means you had either an ultimate win or ultimate fail?


Combo thereof. I do find it amusing that I got the worst grade in the only exam I felt I actually knew the material in/studied for for 10 days, and did better in the two classes that I did absolutely nothing beyond reading/attending class for until like 5 days before the exam.


I feel like my grades are going to look very similar based on (a) one of my policy answers in a class I studied for a lot and (b) what I think were better-written exams in classes I studied considerably less for. We shall see.

eth3n
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby eth3n » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:19 pm

one bad grade can make the difference between #1 and median

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vanwinkle
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:35 pm

eth3n wrote:one bad grade can make the difference between #1 and median

Don't remind me. :evil:

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JazzOne
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby JazzOne » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:51 pm

eth3n wrote:one bad grade can make the difference between #1 and #4

fixt

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prezidentv8
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:57 pm

Ok now that my grades are in, the main thing I learned is that my confidence level going into and/or out of an exam has zero bearing on my grade. Also, I still feel that the curve is still retarded.

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dbt
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby dbt » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:04 pm

The vast majority of classmates know the material just as well as I do, and the only way to do better is to be incredibly good and comfortable at spotting issues, applying the law, articulating your thoughts clearly, and typing quickly.




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